Last month the Travel Channel provided fifteen minutes of fame to two Mount Dora residents, as well as 25,000 reasons to stay in their downtown bed and breakfast.
The November 14 episode of "Hotel Impossible Showdown” pitted Mount Dora's Adora Inn against inns and hotels in South Beach, Stuart and Santa Rosa Beach. At stake: a $25,000 prize for the best accommodations and experience. By the end of the episode, Mount Dora's Adora Inn stood out against its competitors and took home the cash and bragging rights.
Owners John Cataldo and Arthur Natale ignored the first inquiry by the show's casting director in 2015. Eventually, she contacted them again and the couple agreed to a Skype audition. The next day Adora Inn was given the green light.
The inviting inn, built in 1906, is located on Tremain Street in the city’s historic district, and is anything but the dust and doilies you might expect from a bed and breakfast. Adora Inn's warm, contemporary interior features six guest rooms on the second and third floors. Adora's common areas feature original art, including abstract paintings by Natale, an established artist and former art director. Natale and Cataldo, both excellent chefs, are known for creating memorable gourmet meals and providing stellar service.
Impressed by Adora Inn's win, Mount Dora Buzz had a few questions.
BUZZ: How many days did it take to film the entire episode? CATALDO: We shot for 10 days traveling throughout the state.
BUZZ: What was your favorite property in the competition? CATALDO: The Old Colorado Hotel in Stuart.
BUZZ: Have you stayed in touch with any of the other innkeepers? CATALDO: Yes, actually Carrie from South Beach and Steven from Stuart are coming to stay with us in January.
BUZZ: What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself from the experience? CATALDO: The most surprising thing was that I could be so witty and funny. I never thought I was such a goof.
BUZZ: How did you spend your winnings? CATALDO: Arthur and I took a two-week vacation to Portugal.
BUZZ: What is the single most unique feature of Adora Inn? CATALDO: I think the most is hard to say. It’s threefold. 1. Our unique style; 2. Our love of good international foods; 3. Our genuine hospitality.
BUZZ: What are a few of Arthur's favorite dishes to prepare for guests? CATALDO: He likes making Italian frittatas and freshly baked pastries for breakfast, and for dinner he loves different types of risotto and braised short ribs with red wine chocolate sauce. Oh, and his orange ricotta cheesecake.
BUZZ: Where do most of your guests come from? CATALDO: The greater Tampa Bay area including the Sarasota, St. Pete, and Clearwater areas. Secondly, Miami-Dade, Broward and the Palm Beaches.
BUZZ: Who was more nervous about doing the show, you or Arthur? CATALDO: We were equally nervous.
BUZZ: Why? CATALDO: The contracts for the network were so lengthy and scary. We had no idea how they were going to portray us and how they were going to show our property.